Exercises can be the least attractive element of learning to play the piano. They can be mechanical and repetitive and to a lot of people fairly meaningless.
However, exercises build technique. They promote the muscular growth and flexibility and dexterity to prepare you for the more difficult pieces.
Exercises need to be approached proactively rather than reactively. That is, get involved, listen carefully. Measure yourself against these three principles:
Am I playing smoothly?
Am I playing on the beat?
Am I playing with an even tone?
The last one, which means “am I playing the notes so that none of them sound too loud or too soft,” is the biggest challenge you’ll face when learning to play. Regular exercises help to meet that challenge.
With the relaxation of government restrictions lessons are once again taking place at our home. If you are a past student and wish to ‘get going’ again, or a new student perhaps wanting to try out piano lessons then kindly call 07834 188918.
Domenico Scarlatti wrote 555 pianos sonatas. His birth/death dates were the same as Johan Sebastian Bach (1685-1750.) I love Scarlatti, his sonatas are a constant source of discovery. This one in F minor is a personal favourite.
A bit of homespun advice about your piano practice:
Each practice session begin with a scale and arpeggio. Choose a different key each time. Remember to play smoothly, in time and with an even tone – these are the 3 things to look for. I appreciate this is not an attractive task (you can make it attractive and look forward to it.) However it builds strong technique. Exercises are not exactly an attractive proposition but if you want to improve then it’s a habit that needs to be cultivated. Someone once told me that to create a habit it takes 21 days, so try it… so for the next 21 days do your exercises before anything else.
When we play the piano to play we often do 2 things: a) play for pleasure, go over our favourite-of-the-moment pieces, and b) practice new ones. I can’t emphasis enough that if you want to advance and play more challenging and beautiful pieces you must spend at least 50% of your practice time working on new pieces. Call it “the 50% rule” if you like and please try it. At each practice start with exercises, then practice the new pieces, then finish off with the things you love.
Thanks to Wayne, Simon, Jessica, Charlotte and Rachel for taking part in this year’s social musical evening. Not to forget Sue and Claire who helped with the teas and cakes!
The evening was a lovely chance to play some pieces in front of other students and to make new friends. It’s always daunting to play in front of an audience, particularly other piano players but everyone played beautifully and confidently. Thanks to all, it was great fun!
Congratulations to Charlotte Burman who achieved her Grade 5 piano exam this December. An excellent effort, well done Charlotte!
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